UK-based scientists have designed an ‘intelligent’ microchip which they claim can suppress appetite.
Animal trials of the electronic implant are about to begin and its makers say it could provide a more effective alternative to weight-loss surgery, BBC reports.
The chip is attached to the vagus nerve which plays a role in appetite as well as a host of other functions within the body.
Human trials of the implant could begin within three years, say its makers.
The work is being led by Prof Chris Toumazou and Prof Sir Stephen Bloom of Imperial College London.
t involves an ‘intelligent implantable modulator’, just a few millimetres across, which is attached using cuff electrodes to the vagus nerve within the peritoneal cavity found in the abdomen.
The chip and cuffs are designed to read and process electrical and chemical signatures of appetite within the nerve. The chip can then act upon these readings and send electrical signals to the brain reducing or stopping the urge to eat.
The researchers say identifying chemicals rather than electrical impulses will make for a more selective, precise instrument.